I make a couple lists every year before my fantasy football draft. One, of course, is my position rankings. The other, my list of late round sleepers to consider. And finally, this list: My list of big name NFL players that I just don’t want to own.
Whether it be iffy injuries, position battles or just a gut feeling, every year there are certain players that stand out from the rest. They will be drafted, and they will be drafted high… They just won’t be drafted by me.
So read on, and let me know if you agree. Do you have any players that you flat out don't want on your team? Tell me why. Let's get some conversations gone. I'm not doing this for my health, you know.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
For anyone that has paid attention to really anything NFL related over the last week, you can understand where I’m coming from. I am a firm believer in the fact that history can and will repeat itself. And Maurice Jones-Drew is looking suspiciously like Chris Johnson from last season.
He is holding out and still hasn’t practiced with the team. He is open to trade talks. And he doesn’t seem like he’ll be coming back soon.
Best case scenario is that he misses a couple of games and things get sorted out. Worst case scenario is that he misses a couple of games and comes back out of shape and out of rhythm having missed all of his offseason workouts.
For someone going in the first round, that is not a risk I’m willing to take. So let someone else reach for MJD in the first round. And don’t hesitate to give them a hard time about.
One thing you can and should do though, is keep your eyes open in round 10-12 for Rashad Jennings, the Jacksonville Jaguars backup running back. He has proven that he can handle the work too. Along with being the running back behind Jones Drew in 2009 and ’10, he has played in two games where MJD was injured. In those two games he had a total of 203 all-purpose yards, eight receptions and one touchdown.
If Jones Drew misses time, Jennings is the workhorse for a team that like to run the ball and pass out of the backfield.
Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Denver Broncos
I think he’s going to have a good season. Probably. He’s practically already been awarded the Comeback Player of the Year.
But (and this is where the vast importance of watching the preseason comes in) he’s been pretty awful so far. In two preseason games he has 221 yards on 20 completions… not too bad. He’s completing 67% of his passes…not too bad. He has 0 touchdowns and three interceptions…that’s a bit of a problem.
That’s all good and well, I mean, the guy is a legend and hasn’t played in a year. He is bound to have a bit of a learning period to get back in rhythm. But his average draft position is 65th overall. That is a bit rich for my blood.
Considering that you can get Eli Manning (much more consistent) at the 59th pick, Tony Romo at 72, Philip Rivers at 74, Jay Cutler at 80. I like them all quite a bit more. Each of them have a ceiling that is just as high or higher than Peyton’s this season. And all of them come with a great deal less risk.
Frank Gore, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
To be fair, he is likely on everybody’s red flag list. We can see this with him dropping all the way to the mid 4th round. And it’s for good reason.
Last season was his first where he played in every game since 2006. His stats have been very good despite the injuries, but every man has a turning point. And this season smells a lot like Gore’s point.
Exhibit A: The 49ers brought in LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs, to go alongside Rock Cartwright, Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter.
Exhibit B: The 49ers have been running the hell out of the ball in the preseason, at a pace of 189 rushing yards per game. Frank Gore has 12 of those rushing yards.
The 49ers are showing all the signs of running a heavy multiple-running back set. This will help Gore stay healthy, but will also limit his carries and touchdowns.
Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
What? You crazy.
But I won’t do it. In any league.
Wide receiver is insanely deep this year. There are receivers going in the 12th round that I would have no hesitation starting on my fantasy team. So why spend a first round pick on a receiver? I just can’t justify it.
Running back is not deep and has the sharpest drop off. I would much rather spend my Round 1 on one of them. Quarterbacks throw the ball all the damn time. I can even justify getting Rodgers or Brady in Round 1. But, no matter how great Calvin Johnson is… you can get elite WR talent late.
They might not put up the same numbers as Johnson, but if I get a WR who will get me 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in Round 5, they are a much better value in my book than a receiver in Round 1 who gets me 1,500 and 14.
Also, Madden Curse. Just saying.